Users of free picture sharing service shocked at policy change that allow Instagram to sell usernames, photos and likeness to advertisers
Instagram is reported to be giving itself the right to sell users' photos to advertisers without any notification or compensation.
Under new terms and conditions, users of the photo sharing site, bought by Facebook this year, will not receive any revenue from this money making exercise. And they can only stop this happening to them if they delete their Instagram accounts by 16 January. There are also serious concerns about how this move would affect people's privacy and security.
However Facebook responded to the news by saying: "Today Instagram did make changes to its terms of service, but talk about selling people's pictures is pure speculation. In some parts of the new terms on Instagram, the wording is indeed broad.
"It is standard practice for tech companies frame flexible policies to enable future innovation. It is inevitable that people will speculate about the most extreme possible scenarios, especially where Facebook is involved."
Facebook bought Instagram for a reported $1bn. As of September this year, the service had an estimated100 million registered users. Making a financial success of the acquisition is vital to Facebook.
Earlier this month the company's vice-president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson said: "Eventually we'll figure out a way to monetise Instagram."
Despite what Facebook says about " pure speculation", the updated notice on the Instagram site does pave the way for it to use people's photos this way.
Althouhg the person uploading the content will continue to own the copyright, the updated policy says: "To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you,"
Not surprisingly the change has caused an uproar. The BBC reported that New York-based photographer Clayton Cubbit wrote on his account that the new policy was "Instagram's suicide note".
Other companies, such as recollect.com have been quick to spot an opportunity and are offering their services to disgruntled Instagram users.
Recollect says: "There's been a lot of talk about Instagram lately. We're pretty sure the sky isn't falling, but you should always have a backup, so we built this little tool for you."
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